Best Movie Poster Ever


I’m definitely losing my grip over this movie:


Although I like writer/director James Gunn’s version better:


It’s that perfectly balanced sense of snark thing.

Also, here’s a place to continue the Antagonist post comments. It got way too close to 300 for comfort.

Filed in Pictures

56 Comments to 'Best Movie Poster Ever'

On February 23, 2014 at 6:14 pm Abby said...

You know, I can’t say I was really looking forward to seeing this movie when they first introduced the cast at the Marvel panel at Comic Con, but then I saw the trailer and it completely reeled me in. The description of Groot particularly had me laughing out loud. “He’s been travelling recently as Rocket’s personal house plant/muscle.” Now there’s a sentence you don’t hear every day!

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On February 23, 2014 at 8:19 pm toni said...

And then there’s this fan made version I’m really loving:

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On February 24, 2014 at 1:00 am Jenny said...

That’s the one the writer-director made.

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On February 24, 2014 at 9:33 am toni said...

Oh, cool — the first site where I saw it didn’t give attribution.

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On February 24, 2014 at 4:11 am Ash said...

Rocket – wanted for vehicular theft – bahahahaha. Looking forward to being throughly entertained.

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On February 24, 2014 at 12:59 pm Beth Matthews said...

I literally had that song stuck in my head all weekend. And then I showed my mom the trailer and got it stuck in her head too. :) mwuhahaha….

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On February 24, 2014 at 5:40 pm fiveandfour said...

Oh. Em. Gee. That movie looks like it’s going to be completely over the top in the best possible way. I am so there. (The “You’re Welcome” on the original poster completely slays me.)

Going off topic and towards the discussion regarding back story and flashbacks from the post about antagonists, I’m on the fence. One the one hand, things like Star Wars I-III are a definite argument against writers indulging themselves and sharing tons of back story. (Cue the angry mob carrying pitchforks and torches.) Likewise, the island flashbacks on Arrow are a dead bore to me and I would fast forward through them if I wasn’t afraid of missing something crucial. Additionally, I’m still confused about the structure of Lisa Kleypas’ Sugar Daddy and I skip pretty much all of of the first half of the book for re-reads. Maybe that first half wasn’t meant to feel like back story to the extent that it does and maybe it doesn’t feel that way at all for other readers, but for me, the back story takes up so much space in that book that it’s almost like reading two different books and I don’t think the “back” story pays off in the “current” story like it needs to.

On the other hand, I think shows like Friends, Coupling, and Arrested Development were brilliant in their use of back stories and flashbacks and I quite liked how they are employed in Out of Sight, to name a few examples that came to mind. It seems like Quentin Tarantino uses a lot of flashbacks, too, and there’s probably enough material in his movies for a whole series of posts as respects when they do and when they don’t work. And I know you didn’t appreciate the flashback/story re-framing that appears towards the end of Down with Love, but to me it’s paid off and then some by the expression on Ewan McGregor’s face when the flashback concludes. (I’m willing to admit that the main reason I love that scene is because I love Ewan McGregor. Still, I’m relatively certain it was because I was finding out at the same time that I’d been duped and I was delighted by it. I found it well within keeping of the tone of the whole movie and didn’t mind it one bit even though I’m generally opposed to being lied to as an audience member.)

It seems like a common denominator of when they work for me is when they are 1) brief, 2) relevant, and 3) do such a good job of informing the current story that it’s almost as if the thing that happened in the past is happening in the present.

But this is me speaking strictly from instinct and about what I like/don’t like, it’s not really speaking from a place of logical analysis and proof of theories, so I am interested to see the discussion unfold.

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On February 24, 2014 at 7:07 pm Jenny said...

There’s a difference between flashback and back story.

Flashbacks stop the story in the now to flash back to the past to show a complete scene from there.

Back story is people talking in the now of the story about what happened to them in the past. Back story discussion can stay in the now of the story, but since it’s talking about the past, generally speaking it also stops the story.

Out of Sight doesn’t have flashbacks because it’s not told in chronological order; it’s patterned structure which means the scenes are presented in an order that creates patterns instead of cause and effect. Same thing with Tarantin’s Pulp Fiction.

For flashbacks, you need a story that starts at the beginning and then goes on until it gets to the end, interrupted sometimes by stopping the story and flashing back to a scene from the past. And as you pointed out, back story really has to pay off in the now of the story to be worthwhile, and the vast majority of the time it doesn’t because it’s information the writer wanted the reader to have, not anything the reader needed to know.

But then I hate flashbacks and I’m very leery of most (but not all) back story.

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On February 25, 2014 at 6:08 pm bt said...

Continuing from the Antagonist post re: Arrow. Thought some readers might be interested in the interview/Q&A with SA and his thoughts on some of the plot points we discussed. Not adding to the Antagonist discussion, but is more “of interest” for those on the board:

TVLINE | I was going to say, you always knew that action and ass-kicking was going to be part of this role, but you must also be satisfied with the emotional places that Oliver’s been allowed to go — both in the current timeline and of course in the flashbacks.
SA – I’m very satisfied with it. I had two opportunities in Episode 13 — after Felicity tells me that Merlyn is Thea’s father, and the scene where I confront Moira – that I was very happy with. They essentially kept that Moira scene in its entirety, with all of the awkward pauses. We have a very finite amount of time to tell a very big story every week, so I was very happy that that ended up on TV. There is a scene coming up in Episode 14 and it’s a side of Oliver that we’ve never seen. It’s him essentially giving up on somebody. They’ve given me some room this year to operate, and it’s been very exciting.

TVLINE | That sounds like the scene you teased for us on the People’s Choice red carpet….
SA: That’s right. There is an Oliver/Laurel encounter, the likes of which we’ve never seen — and also a scene from Oliver, and from Laurel as well, that we haven’t seen on the show yet. I think that based on the way that people have embraced those scenes this year, there will be an episode before the end of this season that will be a little different in tone, in terms of what we focus on for the hour. You’ll know when you see it.
TVLINE | Let’s talk for a minute about the women in Oliver’s life. The close of the last episode rubbed some people the wrong way, so tell us: In your mind, what brought Oliver and Sara back together in a heated clinch?
SA: Caity [Lotz] and I talked a lot about that, and there is a lot more history between those two characters than the audience knows about because there are a lot of things that are happening on the island that we haven’t seen unfold yet. We don’t know yet, as a viewer, how important Sara is in Oliver’s life. This was backed up for us by the writers, that there is a far richer history, whether it be romantic or not, between Oliver and Sara than we have experienced yet on screen. So, I understand why it rubbed some people the wrong way, that in some sense it came out of left field, but to think that this was just an “I’m sad, you’re sad, let’s have sex” moment would be incorrect. The deepness of their connection, we don’t totally understand yet, but it’s certainly deeper than a casual hook-up.

TVLINE | OK, because that seems to go against what Oliver once told Felicity, that he can’t be with someone he cares about. Aren’t you saying that he cares about Sara?
SA: He could very much care about Sara, but what’s the thing that we know about Sara? She can take care of herself. Part of what Oliver said to Felicity in that episode is that he doesn’t know if he’s willing to open himself up to having feelings for her, if in fact he does, because the danger is so imminent when you’re in close proximity to him…. Him working with her and her working with him is one thing, but a relationship is another.

TVLINE | A reader wanted to ask, “How are we going to see the Felicity/Oliver relationship evolve over the rest of the season?”
SA: When we introduced Barry [Allen] in Episode 8 and 9, we saw a lot of people saying, “Oh, Oliver’s jealous.” I don’t know how it came across, but that certainly wasn’t the way that I was playing it. It was more curiosity about this guy and their interaction. But jealousy? Not so much. We have this Oliver/Sara thing happening now, and the immediate reaction is, “Oh, Felicity’s going to be jealous.” But Felicity’s way stronger than that. Felicity is much more interested in the overall goal of this team than the fact that Oliver and Sara might be together, and we see that in this next episode. We see Diggle say, “This must be difficult,” and her say, “Yeah, OK. Leave me alone. I’m working.” So, I think that we will see Oliver and Felicity’s relationship really solidified as partners and equals.

Whole interview can be found here:
I think in previous posts I mentioned my suspicions that they will fill in the backstory for Sara and Oliver to justify the hook-up. Would that be good enough? Or too little too late? Based on some responses I’ve seen, people aren’t happy with “filling it in later” part of it, very much like how we discussed in previous posts about the use of backstory (and how we shouldn’t use it). I think it makes people feel duped, like the writers are using back story to back pedal. I must admit I share those feelings. Don’t like to feel duped. Don’t know how I feel about where they are taking this. I hope it’s good. People are expecting it to be good considering the emotional roller-coaster they are taking us on, and the confusion in terms of the romance compenant.

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On February 25, 2014 at 8:38 pm Jenny said...

“So, I understand why it rubbed some people the wrong way, that in some sense it came out of left field, but to think that this was just an “I’m sad, you’re sad, let’s have sex” moment would be incorrect. The deepness of their connection, we don’t totally understand yet, but it’s certainly deeper than a casual hook-up.”

What the writers and Amell seem to be missing is that if you don’t give the viewer the cues to process the scene the way they want it interpreted, the viewer is going to interpret it based on the information she’s got. And if that interpretation doesn’t fit with what the writers wanted, that’s not the viewers’ fault. It makes me crazy–”You don’t understand the back story”–because I want to say, “Yeah, well you don’t understand your viewers because with not enough information they went six different ways with that scene and now you get to try to round them up and get them back on the story path.”

Also, if he didn’t want that reaction to Felicity and Barry read as jealousy, he played that very badly because even Diggle commented on it.

You know, viewers aren’t idiots. We know what’s on screen.

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On February 25, 2014 at 8:41 pm Sara said...

Funny, when I read that, I thought: “I thought he played the subtle jealousy well…but if that’s not what he was going for, he’s a terrible actor!”

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On February 25, 2014 at 9:19 pm Jenny said...

Diggle told him he was jealous. It was not only On. The. Screen. it was In. The. Script.

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On February 25, 2014 at 9:19 pm Anna said...

Sara, again nodding in violent agreement. The show runners – and now the lead – are in hyper spin mode. I also think there’s a bit of “some of you aren’t smart enough to get it” subtext in what they’re shovelling.

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On February 25, 2014 at 6:09 pm Sara said...

This is a continuation for the antagonists post, only I have two questions that have to do with your Arrow posts, but have nothing to do with antagonists. This was just published:

If you look at Stephen Amell’s response to the Oliver-Sara hook-up, he talks about the fact that there is a lot the audience don’t know because it hasn’t been revealed yet. I was trying to process why you are so against flashbacks and leery of backstory, and was dissecting through books, movies, shows to understand HOW it affects a story–negatively or positively. I know that as a reader/viewer, I’m not as interested in the past as I am in the present, but there have been times when I have appreciated the flashbacks (I also almost always hate prequels). Anyway, back to Arrow: as a writer/storyteller, I’m really curious why they would structure an Oliver-Sara hook-up before revealing the backstory/flashback…and when looking at it as a romance subplot, how that was supposed to be a strong introduction to the relationship when we are given no present information on the WHY. So, while the relationship justification now hinges on the backstory/flashback, I can’t find it in myself to care, and I guess I’m trying to figure out what would make them unravel a romantic subplot that way, and how this differs from a novel–I mean, a novel couldn’t get away doing that, right? (Not that I’m saying a TV show can, I’m just trying to figure out how storytelling differs between mediums).

My second question has to do with romantic contracts. I am not a fan of love triangles, but I’m wondering how romantic contracts work for stories that have three people. It’s curiosity about the technical aspect: do you set up a contract between two people and then someone comes between them as a barrier, or should a romantic contract be equal between two love interests and it relies on the audience to decide who they’re rooting for (when you set out to create a love triangle)? It’s really hard for me to phrase this question, so let me try again: in a story like The Hunger Games trilogy, can the protagonist have a clear contract between two interests? Or are the rules the same–that the contract exists between only two people? The romantic contract, for me, was always clear, but I know that other people who read the book felt robbed with the protagonist’s choice.

Sorry if the questions aren’t clear. I know what I’m trying to say, but I’m not sure if I’m communicating it clearly enough.

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On February 25, 2014 at 6:31 pm bt said...

Hi Sara, I wondered about the effectiveness of the backstory being told later too. I think it would have been much more effective if they developed the relationship on the same episode during the island scene. That way, the hook-up at the end would make more sense. They didn’t do that and now people feel they are just making it up as they go. Telling us about the deepness of their relationship after the fact. People have already decided what they think and feel about the relationship so it will take a lot to sway them the other way. Way to make an uphill battle for yourselves, writers! I suspected this was coming, and I did wonder if it would make a difference to viewers, because many reacted very negatively to the Sara/Oliver hook-up (for various reasons). Sounds like many feel duped. I don’t know how I feel. But I think they have to make it really good to make me buy what they are selling.

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On February 25, 2014 at 8:20 pm Anna said...

bt, I suspected it was coming also, but definitely believe fans have been played. Undermining the trust of viewers is not a good strategy, I think. There’s nothing the Arrow show runners can do or any interview by the lead that will justify this Sara-Ollie nonsense to me; it’s just too toxic.

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On February 25, 2014 at 11:56 pm Kate said...

The writers definitely had ample opportunity to set up this “deeper connection” between Sara and Oliver in the flashbacks/island scenes. Just a few lingering looks, a couple of touches that may have a lasted a beat too long, some dialogue. Nothing major, just some indication there is something there. But they didn’t and many viewers objected to the hookup.

My theory on this is that the writers/producers weren’t sure Sara as the new Black Canary would be accepted by viewers. They were very wary because their original plan with Laurel blew up in their faces (I’m calling it now, I think they’re killing off Laurel by the end of this season. They’re not killing Sara because I think this romance will become a major part of season three. Just the feeling I got after SA’s TVLine interview). Sara got a warm response, so I think the producers have decided to resurrect their original plan of a Green Arrow/Black Canary romance, toxic past be damned.

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On February 25, 2014 at 9:10 pm Jenny said...

Writers cannot say to readers or viewers, “You can’t interpret what you saw/read because you don’t have the back story.” If we put it on the page or screen, the reader/viewer is going to incorporate it into the story and if we don’t give those readers/viewers enough cues to go in the direction we want, we screwed up, not the reader/viewer.

I did a rant post on Agents of SHIELD based on this (and never published it and never will) based on something one of the actors, Chloe Bennet said:

“Sometimes I just want to say, “Have patience!” We have a lot to set up in this universe. There’s a lot of complicated topics that we have to touch base on. . . . We’re only on the fourth episode and this is the first season. Hopefully we go on for many seasons to come and we can develop characters in a nice, beautiful way.”

My response was:

No. You have one episode to establish character and make us care and you didn’t. Four episodes in, we still don’t care. That “Hey, we have a lot to set up” excuse makes sense to writers and actors but not to readers and viewers who showed up for a story about interesting characters and got Barbie & Friends.


But anything you put on the page or screen becomes part of the story, and then the reader/viewer fills in the blanks. This is so obvious, that I can’t understand why writers don’t get this. If it’s not THERE, it’s not part of the story, and if you don’t give us the story, we’ll tell it ourselves.

The problem Arrow is running into is that its trying to be too damn many stories:

Oliver saving the city which this season is Oliver vs. Slade.
Moira running for mayor.
Roy coming unglued from the Mirakiru.
Sara coming back to her family.
Thea finding out who her daddy is.
Roy and Thea’s relationship/
Isabel taking over Queen Consolidated.
Back on the island, Slade going nuts from the Mirakuru.
Back on the island, Ivo trying to find the Mirakuru and kill them all.
Laurel’s life going to hell while Quentin tries to save her.
Laurel vs. Sara
Diggle and HIVE killing his brother.
The Suicide Square.
Oliver’s relationship with Laurel.
Oliver’s relationship with Felicity.
Oliver’s relationship with Sara.

That’s sixteen plots and subplots and I’m sure I’ve missed some, not counting the Dickhead of the Week that Oliver has to defeat. How much time do they have to address these stories each week? Forty minutes.

That means that the vast majority of the plots on there are just lose ends at this point. Then add in that they’re ret-conning like crazy and of course they’re not setting up their plots tightly.

So now they’re saying viewers can’t understand Oliver/Sara without back story. Sweet Jesus, yes, because what this show needs is more STORY. They’ve already got their story real estate so subdivided that each plot gets about a square inch, let’s make that smaller.

Or we can rid of all the extraneous crap like who Oliver’s love interest is and when Thea’s going to find out about Dad, and Laurel and Sara vying for Biggest Bitch in Starling City, and stick to Oliver fighting crime in general and Slade in particular, plus two, three, hell even four juicy subplots that they can set up and develop so that viewers aren’t going off in all directions.

Sorry, I’m ranting, but nothing makes me crazier than a writer saying, “You don’t have all the information you need to understand the part of the story I just gave you.” Yes, that’s true. AND WHOSE FAULT IS THAT? If they’d set up that lunge at the end of the last episode, nobody would give a rat’s ass about back story (back story does not justify lust now; if that lust was still there, there would have been cues in the Now of the story) because it would have made sense in the context of the story being told. So no, I do not believe that Sara and Oliver showed absolutely no chemistry and no recognition of each other sexually for several weeks of episodes and then suddenly were overcome by lust. It’s. Not. On. The. Screen.

Second Question: The problem with setting up two potential love interests in any story is that the reader/viewer picks a side. If she picks the side that wins, she thinks the story is good. If she picks the side that loses, she thinks the story stinks. Ideally, you want as many readers as possible to think your story is good. Therefore, it’s a good idea not to do something that you know is going piss off a chunk of your readers. Running two or more possible love interests for too long is also dumb storytelling because you can’t really develop any of the relationships because of (a) limited story real estate and (b) necessity not to tip your hand one way or the other. Meanwhile, the love story isn’t being told, so all of the benefit of a good love story–participating in the falling in love and commitment part–can’t be told.

I’m trying to think of a reason to ever run more than one love interest. Bandits did it, but their endgame was a three-way. I can’t think of a successful love story that didn’t make that romance contract. Of course neither Hunger Games or Arrow is a love story, but Arrow is spending so much time on Laurel-Felicity-Sara that it’s skewing the show toward that genre.

All of this is, of course, my opinion. Also, long day and I’m cranky-tired. But really, “You don’t have enough information to understand what we put on the screen” might as well be “We’re not very good at this which is why you’re getting this all wrong.” Bite me.

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On February 26, 2014 at 12:40 am Chris said...

I remember reading some review or other of Agatha Christie, which explained that the reason the classic Christie novels work despite the massive need to suspend all disbelief is that Christie was so careful to put every clue in and was sometimes even nice enough to list all of the clues for you, so that when Poirot names the murderer, you don’t (usually) feel cheated, just hitting yourself for missing/misunderstanding the clues.

In this case, I don’t think I did miss any clues.

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On February 26, 2014 at 12:57 am Chris said...

I write fantasy/science fiction, not romance, but here’s my take:

You can have contracts between two interests in the following circumstances:

1. You are planning on having this end up with a threesome. In this case, you need to signal immediately that the three characters are open to this sort of thing, largely because this is still not necessarily the expected outcome for readers.

Assuming the threesome isn’t the outcome, this can also work if:

2. The two rivals enter the story at about the same time.

3. The protagonist has to learn about both rivals.

One writer who did this fairly well was Madeleine Brent in Moonraker’s Bride: one tough but naive girl not great at reading people or social situations; two mysterious and of course stunningly good-looking men. They arrived within a few chapters of each other and continued to pop in and out of the book, leaving the heroine All Confused about her feelings, which meant that part of the fun of the book was figuring out, along with the heroine, which of the two mysterious strangers could be trusted. Admittedly, readers probably figured it out before the heroine did.

If I recall correctly some Gothic novels played a similar stunt. And of course, there’s Georgette Heyer’s Cotillion, which has fun with reader and fan expectations.

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On February 26, 2014 at 1:06 am Jenny said...

I have always loved Cotillion, but I just assigned it to my McDaniel class and the majority of them were very lukewarm on it, and one of the main reasons was that they couldn’t identify the love interest so it was just confusing.

I think if the story is about the protagonist’s confusion and not about the love story, you can probably get away with it. But if the story is about the romance, you need that contract with the reader. And even if it’s about the confusion–choosing between two worlds/two lives–some people are pick the wrong choice and end up unsatisfied.

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On February 26, 2014 at 1:16 am Chris said...

Moonraker’s Bride was definitely about the confusion, but there the confusion was which of these mysterious strangers is the good guy. It also helped that by the end it was absolutely positively clear which guy was bad.

Cotillion is more of a comedy of manners than a romance, possibly why the romantic hero isn’t immediately identified.

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On February 27, 2014 at 8:40 am Katie said...

I love Cotillion too, but I knew Freddie was the love interest going in, and that probably made a difference. Still, Freddie shows up first, Freddie is the one who helps her when she has a problem, Freddie is NOT the one who’s chasing her new friend around London trying to make her his mistress. I like Freddie. Jack is kind of a selfish bastard.

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On February 27, 2014 at 9:46 am Jenny said...

I loved Freddie.
What I loved most about that book is that I thought the love interest was Jack when I first read it (decades ago) and I kept thinking, “This book would be so good if the love interest was Freddy even though I know it’s not.” It’s a really great example of the Competent Hero (“hero” as in “love interest” not “protagonist”).

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On February 25, 2014 at 9:32 pm Anna said...

Jenny, you are even more awesome on a rant. And more coherent than anything the Arrow writers, producers and lead actor are madly baiting and spinning.

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On February 25, 2014 at 10:33 pm bt said...

Well, on a positive note, they released a clip with Diggle and Felicity that shows she is stronger and better than getting caught up in jealousy. The scene strengthens 2 out of the three Team Arrow members at least. LOVE Diggle. I seem to always agree with him! Ha!

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On February 25, 2014 at 10:38 pm Jenny said...

Can we have a spin-off called DIGGLE? And can he take Felicity with him?

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On February 25, 2014 at 10:55 pm Anna said...

I’m in for a DIGGLE spin-off with Felicity.

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On February 25, 2014 at 11:48 pm Cheryl P said...

Count me in on that one.

I have no sympathy now for the protagonist and having heard in another Amell interview that Sara suddenly also has Felicity level IT skills, well, they’ve lost my willing suspension of disbelief. hope that works as I couldn’t copy/paste.

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On February 26, 2014 at 1:32 am Sara said...

Jenny, thank you for the rant. It actually made me feel better because I was so pissed today after reading the interview, and I thought maybe I just misread half a season worth of subplot. I’ve said this before: sometimes the Arrow producers, writers, and actors are such fanboys of their own show, they can’t stick their heads out of their asses to see where they are going horribly wrong.

I am about to give up on Arrow at this point. So, now they want me to believe Sara and Oliver have this rich romantic backstory…after, last season, they were shoving Laurel and Oliver down my throat? I’m not supposed to be disgusted by this love triangle? And then, as if that wasn’t bad enough, they tease all these Oliver-Felicity moments in the first half of the season, only to say he was never jealous of Barry. That would make Oliver’s outburst in Blast Radius confusing. If it was jealousy, it made sense. Why would he be mad at her for not being there when she returned immediately after hearing about the first bomb? It’s a crap excuse that I could only accept because I dismissed it as covering up his jealousy. Now, I’m just looking back at half the season and going: “Uh…WHO are you? And what show am I watching?” Because clearly, whatever it is the writers are trying to communicate, I’m not getting.

Sara having Felicity-level IT skills is just ridiculous. If they’re trying to make Sara more likable, they are failing miserably. Clearly, any time the writers consciously attempt to make a character likable, they fail (Strike 1: Laurel. Strike 2: Sara. In the process of trying to salvage strikes 1 AND 2: Oliver).

This show and I are coming very close to breaking up. I MIGHT watch tomorrow’s episode just because it’s about Felicity (and The Suicide Squad, for Diggle–IF I calm down by then, which doesn’t seem likely). I’m not even sure they can save this show for me at this point. I absolutely DETEST Oliver now. Can’t. Stand. Him. WHAT. A. HUGE. MORON. (I know we aren’t supposed to bash actors, but based on that interview, Stephen Amell is not my favorite person either).

Way to jump the shark, Arrow.

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On February 26, 2014 at 3:03 am Jenny said...

You know, the real solution is to not read anything about the show including this blog and just watch the story.

That’s the thing that always gets me through the first weeks of a book launch. I worry if the reviews will be good, I worry about it hitting high enough on the NYT list, I worry about the buzz on the internet, and in the midst of all that noise and trauma, I remember that what really matters is that ten years from now, when somebody takes that book off a dusty shelf in a library somewhere or unearths it in an attic, and sits down to read it, the story will be good. Whoever takes that book off the shelf won’t know where it hit on the NYT, won’t know what Library Journal said about it, all that reader will know is what’s on the page. All she’ll know is the story. And that’s all that matters because of all this stuff that surrounds the story is fog. All that matters about Arrow is what’s on the screen.

Leverage has been off the air for two years, long enough that I’d forgotten a lot of it when I went back to watch it, and it’s as fresh and tight as it was when it started seven years ago. Life on Mars ran 2006-07, but I didn’t find it until late last year, and I was so blown away by it, I immediately watched the series twice more and then made Krissie watch it when she came to stay. I have no idea what the show runners said when those shows were on, what the fan chatter was, what the critics said, I just know the story on the screen, and in both cases, it’s wonderful. Every episode of those shows is not fantastic, but the series taken as a whole? Both are great story.

We’re not watching Arrow as story here; we’re analyzing the writing of the story, so it’s a little like dissecting a frog and then wondering why the frog doesn’t jump any more. I started taking Arrow apart because I was really interested in the response to the romantic interest and why that wasn’t working for so many fans, and the response to a character who was not a romantic interest and yet became the substitute for a lot of fans. I wanted to know what torpedoed one romance and what fueled the other because I write romance and I thought I could learn a lot from taking it apart and from talking with fans. And dear god, I have learned a lot, so much more than I expected. But that doesn’t mean I expect the writers to write the story I want. It’s not my story, it’s theirs. And while their livelihood depends on keeping their fans, they have to follow their own paths. So while their choices have made me less interested in some characters and some plots, I’ll stick until the end of the season just to see what they’re doing. I think they’ve made some big mistakes, but I think they’ve done some amazing things with story, too. And I’m in no position to throw stones at writers who make mistakes; I torpedoed my own book once because I would not listen to people saying, “THIS IS A MISTAKE.” It was my story and I told it the way I wanted to. The Arrow writers get to do that, too, as far as I’m concerned. And besides, I want to see how it turns out. If the whole Sara thing is too awful, I’ll fast forward through that part (there are advantages to not watching TV live).

Oh, and I’d cut Amell a break. He’s the front man for the show runners, so I think they’ve probably got him selling the party line. I think his reversals are theirs, not his. What’s the guy going to do, say “Yeah, I know I said Oliver was jealous before and that’s the way I played it, but the producers want to go another way, so forget that I said that and try to believe this now.” He’s stuck.

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On February 26, 2014 at 3:49 pm sara said...

I have no idea what the show runners said when those shows were on, what the fan chatter was, what the critics said, I just know the story on the screen, and in both cases, it’s wonderful. Every episode of those shows is not fantastic, but the series taken as a whole? Both are great story.

–This. Exactly the conclusion I got to when I was thinking about it all this morning, with a clearer head (I shouldn’t have written my rant at 10 pm after just arriving from work!).

When I look at other shows that hooked me, it was because I tuned in when the season (or several seasons…or the show as a whole) was done. I could focus on story, and when something a character did rubbed me the wrong way, I could click on the icon that took me to the next episode. It left much less room for speculation. Plus, I never had to live with the parts I didn’t like about a story long. In fact, even with Arrow, I wasn’t on board until I saw the entire first season in its entirety on Netflix. So when Oliver chose Laurel over Diggle in Home Invasion, I immediately watched the next episode when he goes to apologize and tells Diggle he was right. I didn’t spend two weeks hating him for his choice, or trying to figure out what was going on in his head, or filling in the blanks myself. I let the show tell the story. Period.

Arrow is currently the only show I follow live, so I have a lot invested in it. I’m a suburban working mom of three toddlers who drives a minivan (just to paint a quick picture of what my days are like!), so a vigilante archer superhero show with action, drama, comedy, and “romance” is escapism at its finest for me–if I’m going to carve out one hour in front of television without a load of laundry to fold while I watch, it better be a show that has EVERYTHING. So when I start to dislike Oliver, I think, “Dammit show, I NEED you to be THIS, not THAT.” And that’s on me, not the writers.

So, bottomline: you’re right. It’s time to get off the fan boards, stop reading the interviews, and maybe even let a few weeks (or the entire season) pass before watching Arrow again. It’s just not fun anymore (but all you guys are GREAT, really).

I’ve learned a lot, too. For that, I am profoundly grateful. At least I’ve still got over 4 seasons of Leverage!

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On February 26, 2014 at 4:10 am Ash said...

I loved the Arrow story rant/s

But I have a question about Spoiler’s/Promo’s and Contracts. I have checked out the Trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy – a lot. Based on the 1 minute + snippet has there been any contract made with me as a viewer? I think in part I am still confusing contract with ‘expectation’ or can they be one in the same?

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On February 26, 2014 at 10:20 am Jenny said...

The contract with the viewer after the GotG trailer:
Quill will be the hero-protagonist (he gets the most screen time, he’s human [we're specie-ist]).
It will be snarky.
It will be violent.
It will be fast-paced.
It will be SF/Fantasy.
It will be fun.

“Contract” and “expectation” aren’t the same, but they’re linked: The contract the writer offers sets up your expectation, and based on that expectation, you decide whether to accept the contract/go see the movie. Think of how many contracts you turn down at the start of a new TV season, how many contracts you turn down when you watch movie previews before a movie in a theater or on a DVD. The preview creates an expectation, and based on that, you decide to accept/see the story or decline and skip it.

If “contract” trips you up, try “promise.” As in, “What does this clip promise me?” “What has the show this far promised me?”

The Leverage pilot contract/promise was
This show will be about four criminals and an honest man bringing down greedy people who hurt others.
This show will be snarky-funny (as opposed to farce, warm family comedy, satire, etc.)
This story will be fast-paced (people showing emotion instead of discussing it).

I think I’ve said this here before, but a cw prof of mine once said that 90% of your options are gone once you write the first sentence of any story. I’d add that 95% are gone by the end of the first scene. Of course, given the almost infinite number of story options, that still leaves you a lot of wiggle room, but you’ve still made that contract/promise with the reader. And of course, if you keep that first scene vague or spend it on back story, the reader/viewer will fill in the white space.

My first novel was rejected by everybody in publishing because I broke the contract. It clearly started out as a light romantic comedy, but then while I was writing it, I got depressed and there was a divorce and a lost child and a date rape. Finally a very smart editor said, “I’ll buy this, but you have to cut the last sixty thousand words and write the story you started and not switch in the middle to something else.” My first big lesson in writing: You can’t just follow your nose to where you fantasize the story taking you, you have to promise the reader something wonderful in the first scene, and then deliver. (The reader gets to define “wonderful.”)

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On February 26, 2014 at 8:59 am Paula said...

I loved the rants! I felt the same way about Amell’s interview yesterday. It made me angry because I remember an interview where he said something to the effect that when another man noticed Felicity, it made Oliver set up an take notice. That along with Diggle’s comment on. the. screen. makes me want to scream at the writers. Do they think we are idiots?

I think it was BT who speculated that they decided to reboot after Laurel fell flat. I think that’s true. I also think that they miscalculated Sara’s popularity. If they had not done the flirty flirt thing with Oliver and Felicity for the first 10 episodes of the season, then I think we could have bought Sara & Oliver. I also think that if they had this great epic romance on the island, then they would have hooked up when they first saw each other again — or at least there would have been a hint then — a longing look, a kiss, something. There was no clue at all that they had been anything else. In fact on the island scenes so far, they don’t seem all the connected at all.

I will admit that I was really disappointed when in one of the island scenes Oliver said he chose Sara over Shado. At the time I didn’t really think about it. I’d interpreted his choosing Sara as just jumping in front of the gun and not really making a choice – the gun was just pointed at Sara. Then, however, when he made that comment, it really made me think a little less of him. Now, I suppose that was supposed to be a clue that he loved Sara more than Shado, which makes me ill because I loved Shado. She was both a bad ass and a good person. Sara may be a bad ass, but I don’t see her as being a good person.

And don’t even get me started on Sara’s having the same skill set as Felicity. That is beyond ridiculous — and it makes me really angry. I’m not sure how the writers can think tearing down a beloved character will make us like Sara more. It actually makes me like her less. (Of course, that scene makes me love Diggle even more. Please more Diggle and Felicity.)

I am going to give Arrow until the end of the season to redeem themselves. I am not, however, committing to watching the Super Sara Show. If that’s the direction the writers are going, then I’ll just have to find something else to watch.

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On February 26, 2014 at 8:21 pm bt said...

Paula, you weren’t they only one who didn’t see that scene as Oliver choosing Sara over Shado. I read reviews where the reviewer saw it that way too, and that’s what my husband saw too (as did I). It’s frustrating when you suspect they are changing things as they go as opposed to having it plotted it out and consistent.

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On February 26, 2014 at 9:01 am Paula said...

In my rant, I forgot to include the Emily Bett Rickards interview on the Sara/Felicity relationship and season 2. The link is below:

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On February 26, 2014 at 8:33 pm bt said...

Thanks for the interview Paula. I love EBR’s take on Felicity when she says Felicity takes care of others, b/c that was one of the things that people find so endearing about her. She’s not petty, but wanting the best for others. And she’s harder on herself than she is on others.

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On February 26, 2014 at 11:21 am Claire Rose said...

Oh, I don’t shoot the messengers, and that is just what SA is here. I threw up my hands and had to LMAO off at the part where they are having to EXPLAIN the hook up. Look, I get that what these two went through on the island probably gave them this bond, but prior to the lunge, I saw a bond on FRIENDSHIP. And then to be TOLD that I didn’t see it correctly because there is back story between the two? FOUL! I haven’t SEEN IT! Seriously, the island is now acting like a crutch for the present day story. I have HAD IT with this whole sister act they are throwing at us. The pit just gets deeper and deeper and it isn’t pretty.

You nailed it when you said this isn’t a show about romance, but this gnarled mess about the sisters is such a disaster that it is making it front and center and it sucks! It is taking away from the story and the show. Jenny, you once described the Laurel story as the kid standing in front of the TV waving his arms, well it has grown into TWO very large kids blocking my view and robbing the stories. LOL What are these writers thinking? How can ANY OF THIS be good?

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On February 26, 2014 at 12:13 pm Paula said...

My reaction to SA’s interview was – he’s not even looking at the reporter or the camera, so how we supposed to buy what he is trying to sell. Those writers are going to ruin the series if they don’t get this sister mess fixed soon!

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On February 26, 2014 at 12:40 pm Chris said...

Amell’s been in television for awhile and knows his fanbase; he’s aware. In the TV line interview he specifically notes that he and Lotz talked about this and were worried about the fan reaction, before telling us that there will be an explanation.

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On February 26, 2014 at 1:28 pm Claire Rose said...

But see, the fact that there needs to be an explanation is the part that is so wrong AND that the two had to talk about and get it confirmed through producers. It’s not like we were reading a book and we all skipped a page and then BOOM! There was nothing on screen telling the viewers that this was more than “I’m mad at my mom and you’re mad at you’re sister” moment of heated sex. LOL

Stephen’s been acting a while, but this is the first time he is lead and being the front man with the media.

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On February 26, 2014 at 2:44 pm Chris said...

Claire Rose, I agree; I’m just noting that the interview indicated that Amell and Lotz were aware that a negative fan reaction would be coming and they were aware of it. Clearly they couldn’t do anything about it, but they knew it was coming.

I’m also finding Amell’s wording to be…curious, to say the least. He’s noted again that Roy and Sara are just “visitors” to the Arrow Cave. Now, that makes sense for Roy – he and Oliver have been butting heads since the beginning and I can absolutely see Roy heading out of the Arrow Cave. But if Amell is saying that the person he has this deep, rich, connection to is still just a “visitor” to the Arrow Cave, and the producers are saying that this is a plot they are only exploring for five more episodes (i.e., something ending by either episode 18 or 19, depending upon when “five” begins), then suddenly it looks as if something more is going on here.

This is especially true since the show also spent the last episode reminding us of some negative stuff about Sara: she was hesitating about the boat trip, but went on it after a snippy fight with her sister; she was deeply involved with a group of assassins to the point of falling in love with one of them; she vanished on Oliver without telling him where she was going (and Oliver, in turn, trusted her so little he put a tracker on her the first chance he got) and of course she responded to her sister’s anger by heading off, telling Oliver that Laurel was still angry, and sleeping with him.

So. Hmm.

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On February 26, 2014 at 12:46 pm Abby said...

The thing about using the island story to facilitate what happens in the present day is that the island stuff happened YEARS ago. Even if Oliver and Sara developed this supposed “deep connection” on the island that we will be privy to at a later date if we just hold our horses, the fact still remains that Oliver came back from the island and headed straight for Laurel. SHE is the one he was still claiming to be the person he loved more than anyone else in the world even after all of the connecting he did with Sara. So was Oliver lying his ass off to Laurel for the past year because he thought Sara was dead and no one would be the wiser? Was Laurel the backup love of his life since the sister he really wanted was dead, or so he thought?

As far as I’m concerned, no amount of bonding they can drum up between Sara and Oliver on the island will ever make their present story more palatable because Oliver came home and acted like Sara was the biggest mistake of his life while professing his undying love to Laurel, and no amount of retconning is going to change that.

Damn. I never thought I’d see the day that I was defending Laurel, but here we are.

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On February 26, 2014 at 1:31 pm Claire Rose said...

And maybe the writers are saying “mission accomplished” ;)

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On February 26, 2014 at 1:57 pm Abby said...

Ha! You know I wouldn’t put it past them that this was some big ploy to gain sympathy for Laurel, but I don’t think that is what is happening.

They’ve been retconning this story for weeks now, starting with Sara telling Oliver that Laurel called the cops and busted up Tommy’s party because she knew Sara liked Oliver. Ever since then, the writers have been on a mission to make Laurel look bad. The thing is, for some viewers like myself, there’s never going to be a good enough reason for Sara to betray her sister the way she did. I’m never going to say “Well, I can see why Sara would run off with her sister’s boyfriend.” Nope. There’s some lines you just don’t cross for any reason, and Laurel, for all of her faults, didn’t deserve to be betrayed like that.

I have no idea what the writers are going for here, but at the end of the day, they seem to be shooting themselves in the foot because the character taking the biggest hit is not Laurel, but Oliver. The fact that he has no qualms about hooking back up with Laurel’s sister after everything he’s said and done over the past year and a half makes him look like an idiot, and it makes it hard to take anything he says seriously, which is not what you want for your show’s protagonist.

Add to that the fact that Oliver and Sara show up for dinner together and that’s how Laurel figures out they’re back together.. yeah, there are no words for that except maybe they need to look up the word “tact” in the dictionary.

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On February 26, 2014 at 11:29 am Claire Rose said...

I had to come back and state that it’s like they are trying and so DAMNED determined to get this Laurel and BC and Sara story to work that they are willing to sacrifice the WHOLE SHOW. They had what worked in the first half of the season — it was natural, it was GOOD and it WORKED! Team Arrow. Now? Meh …

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On February 26, 2014 at 11:38 am Sophie L said...


I just think they don’t get it. Whatever the story they going to tell us about the bonding love it’s doesn’t work for most of women because it’s still be a sister trick.
Even the relationship between Diggle and Carly was sweet and well approche but the nefew ruined the romance … like
“Nite dad”
“I’m your oncle actually”
“Yeah but you sleep with my mom”
Ok next it’s awkward.
But no i really liked the bond between Sara and Oliver before that scene. The sad part is that i still like here, but dislike the protagonist for his personal act not the Arrow mistake. And that feel strange to think of because i do prefer Diggle and Felicity…so what the point ?

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On February 26, 2014 at 6:44 pm xoxo said...

So Oliver was never jealous? BS! That is BS! I am sorry everyone i really needed to say that. I like Oliver and Sara for now because i think they deserve each other and that they will grow out of it and also with it. I think they’re also fulfilling canon here and cementing Laurel – Oliver relationship so it is win-win situation for Olicity, or it was… I don’t know anymore, i will still watch rest of season 2, and in season 3 we will see what happens. My favorite characters are still Felicity, Slade and Diggle. I am shocked what they did with Black Canary story and we don’t even know where it’s going. That sister triangle is so toxic, they all bring out worse in each other (Oliver, Laurel, Sara) and I don’t like that the producers are so pro-canon because it would be so much better of a show if there were no Lance sisters and their (hi)story.

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On February 26, 2014 at 8:48 pm bt said...

I think they’ll let the Sara/Ollie relationship run its course to address that fan base. Then move on to the other relationships. I don’t think the Sara/Ollie hookup (supported by some past bonding) was supposed to suggest she is his great love, but maybe there is just more to it then both feeling frustrated w/their lives. That it wasn’t so horribly out of nowhere. I think the writers think the Laurel/Ollie thing can be salvaged b/c Laurel is the “wronged” one here and Ollie can change in this journey. I still want him w/Felicity, but I get the feeling they might bring in someone for her that we’d like enough to accept. Although that person better be Bruce Wayne caliber. Haha!

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On February 27, 2014 at 10:13 am Claire Rose said...

I was thinking this initially as well BEFORE the end of 2×13 and Sara and Oliver went back there. It’s television, I got that, but I just cannot see how they can SELL a smart, self-respecting female would be tempted back into a relationship with the guy who repeatedly cheated on her with many women and then with her sister! And then in the midst of downward spiral they spontaneously resume relationship and try to get away with it while at dinner. LOL How can they sell that? This is when I really think Olicity is end game, because this other stuff is just crazy LOL

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On February 27, 2014 at 1:11 pm Jenny said...

I don’t want Felicity with Oliver. She deserves better.

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On February 26, 2014 at 9:11 pm Paula said...

Just finished watching…I really don’t like Ollie. I want Oliver back.

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On February 26, 2014 at 9:47 pm Jenny said...

I’ll put up a post tomorrow when I’ve seen it. I get it a day late.

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On February 27, 2014 at 11:27 am Julie H. said...

Thought of you instantly with this news this morning, Jenny…

Rocket Raccoon Spins Off …into solo comic series

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On February 27, 2014 at 1:15 pm Jenny said...

Wow, that artist is fantastic. July 2? Comixology doesn’t have it for pre-order yet and neither does Amazon. Must put that on my calendar. Thank you!

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